The Health-Enhancing Benefits of Cordyceps

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Nail fungus is the most common nail infection. It is responsible for around 50 percent of all nail disorder consultations. Nail fungal infections have been considered an age- and gender-related condition. This increases in propensity as a person becomes older, but it is more prevalent among males. A nail fungal infection has several predisposing factors which are diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, and peripheral arterial disease because of HIV or immunosuppressive agents.

Nail fungus is more likely to occur in toenails than the fingernails. Several types of fungi may cause this infection including dermatophytes, molds, and yeasts. Almost all nail fungal infections are caused by dermatophytes, which affect the nails, skin, and even the hair. These are tissues that have keratin.

Nail fungus is manifested in several ways such as the appearance of yellow, white, or black spots on the edge or base of the nail and even near the cuticle. As the infection spreads, these spots also spread and end up covering the entire nail surface. The fungus is expected to colonize the nail, which often leads to softening, deformation, and detachment from the nail bed. The disease is infectious and at the same time contagious. This may spread to the rest of the nails of the same person and even to another person through contact with fungus-contaminated surfaces.

What is its cause?

In more than 90 percent of nail fungus infection cases, the pathogen that causes nail fungal infections can be any of three kinds of dermatophyte fungi, namely Epidermophyton, Microsporum, and Trichophyton. About 10 percent of nail fungal infections are caused by yeasts of the genus Candida spp. or other fungi.

How is it treated?

Generally speaking, the initial treatment for a nail fungal infection is a topical antifungal treatment. Nail fungus can be stubborn and so nail fungus treatment has to be administered for a prolonged period. When the infection persists, oral antifungal medication is often given for more aggressive treatment.

1How does cordyceps work?

Cordyceps are likely to improve immunity through the stimulation of cells and particular chemicals needed in the body’s immune system. It has also been observed to have activity against cancer cells, helping tumors to shrink, particularly in terms of lung or skin cancers.

As an Antifungal or Antimicrobial

Cordyceps are known for being rich sources of various compounds such as phenolic compounds, terpenes, fatty acids, polysaccharides, glucans, and proteins. These compounds are the reason for cordyceps’ many biological activities including neuroprotective, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypotensive, antiallergic, and others.

A species of Cordyceps known as Cordyceps militaris contains a bioactive compound known as cordymin. This peptide has been under investigation due to its antifungal properties. It has been found to possess inhibition properties against the mycelial growth of the pathogens Mycosphaerella arachidicola, Bipolaris maydis, Rhizoctonia solani, and Candida albicans.

Other Health Benefits

In the world of alternative medicine, cordyceps are known as their natural energy booster. Proponents also reported that these can protect the body from depression, diabetes, high cholesterol, fatigue, upper respiratory tract infections, and asthma.

Apart from these functions in alternative medicine, cordyceps is also known for the following major health benefits:

Diabetes treatment

In China, cordyceps has been used as a traditional treatment for diabetes. A 2012 study conducted in Taiwan showed that after a four-week administration of cordyceps extracts, there were substantial changes in the cholesterol levels and a weight reduction in diabetic mice. This, however, showed no impact on blood sugar levels or insulin resistance. Nonetheless, weight loss benefits may aid in controlling diabetes. Improved cholesterol levels may also help in increasing insulin sensitivity.

Asthma treatment

Early research suggested that consuming cordyceps can reduce asthma symptoms, particularly among adults. Nevertheless, other studies revealed how consuming cordyceps along with six other herbs have not shown any impact on children with asthma.

Athletic performance

Because of cordyceps’ ability to increase the body cells’ ability to use oxygen, it is known to enhance one’s athletic performance. This was manifested in the 1993 Chinese National Games, wherein the Women’s Field and Track team was able to break 9 world records. At first, this raised the suspicion of governing sports authorities that the athletes used performance-enhancing drugs. The coach admitted that the team used cordyceps, to which they attributed their exemplary performance. According to recent research, cordyceps may also increase cellular ATP levels, which is the molecule that releases energy into the cell.

Sexual health

Cordyceps is also called “Himalayan Viagra” and “The Sexual Potentiator.” It is known for its huge influence on releasing testosterone by enhancing blood circulation, therefore improving erection, stamina, and virility. This is great for women who are in the menopausal or post-menopausal stage. This is partly due to the biosynthesis of the steroid hormones called testosterone, cortisol, and estrogen.

Respiratory system

Cordyceps have been found to improve the ability of the cells to use oxygen. This is how it assists the herders of Tibet in breathing while they are in high altitudes where there is a shorter supply of oxygen. This function is known to help protect the lungs which make it easier to breathe and at the same time improves the body’s general respiratory functions. Based on extensive studies in humans, cordyceps are beneficial for asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and coughs. 

The typical dose of cordyceps is 1 to 3 grams up to three times daily.

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